The realm of Faerie is located within the greater realms; travel between faerie and Adylheim's plane is fairly common, both intentionally and unintentionally. Things that happen in Faerie can potentially effect Adylheim and vice versa; in some extreme cases it seems that the planes overlap and merge. This phenomenon is noted in particular in the village of Gate, deep in the Arameia Highlands.
The Seelie and Unseelie Courts[edit | edit source]
Things however, get more complicated, as Faerie itself is divided into two ever overlapping and touching planes, making things often confusing and misleading; the village that was there yesterday may not be there today. The two planes are called the Plane of the King and the Plane of the Queen, or more simply, the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Despite the overlapping, or perhaps because of it, similarities to Adylheim can often be perceived, such as geographic locations, and villages in the same place in all three planes, though the inhabitants are different. However, as mentioned before, things do not tend to stay in the same place for long. The exception to this rule is the very centre, or core of the two places, which house the Halls of the King and Queen. These two places are constant, and are where the rulers of Faerie hold court. Geographically, Faerie is similar to Adylheim, if Adylheim were warped and bizarre. Night can last for several days in Faerie, and weather can take turns for the strange, with things like rains of frogs being common. Giant, grotesque mushrooms are often the occupancy of choice for many of the planes' inhabitants. Trees die and come back to life, all in the space of several hours. The moon and the sun have been known to be in the sky at the same time, perhaps due to the overlapping of Seelie and Unseelie.
Denizens of Faerie[edit | edit source]
Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as a faerie, that is to say, in a physical sense. Calling someone a faerie merely means that they live in or originate from the realm of Faerie. Types of faeries are many and mostly undocumented, ranging from sprites to brownies to nixes, both malevolent and helpful. Unicorns are also said to have originated from the faerie realms, and tales of their liberation from it are wide and varied; they are often a favourite of bards and storytellers. The king and queen of the faeries are two of the Walkers. The king is often known as the Hunter, whilst the queen is vary rarely referred to as anything but the Lady. To call her by her true name is considered extremely bad luck. Despite being married, there is no love lost between the king and queen. They both hold separate courts, and rarely meet. In fact, their apparent feud has divided the whole of Faerie in two. Every inhabitant makes themselves known as a member of the Seelie or Unseelie court; or as they call it, a friend of the king or a friend of the queen. The differences between the two courts are little; they both contain benevolent and substantially less savoury members. It is said that the elves are the bastard children of Faerie, lost on the plains of Adylheim for all eternity. One piece of evidence to suggest this is the faerie reaction to iron. With elves, it merely removes their glamour, but with faeries, iron numbs all their senses and renders them weak and helpless. Many faeries are also capable of casting glamour, though their skill with it is not necessarily that of an experienced elf; every subject has different strengths and weaknesses.
The Hall of the Hunt[edit | edit source]
The Hall of the Hunt is the core of the Seelie Court, where the king of Faerie and his courtiers reside. However, due to the nature of the Hunter, the court is not very often contained within is hall, as hunting parties and venturing out into the woods of Seelie are more suited to the lifestyle of the king that sitting at home. The hall itself is a wood longhall, with a huge fire roaring at one end and a crude table and chairs spanning the centre of the building, for feasting upon the wealth of the hunt. Stuffed heads of many different beasts, both mundane and legendary line the walls, and at the head of the table stands a throne of wood that actually seems to grow, tree-like, out of the ground. The Hunter is generally considered the more benevolent of the two faerie sovereigns by outsiders of the plane, but the distinction between the king and queen is slim at best. One thing that is clear however, is that the king prefers to stay well out of the concerns of humans and inhabitants of other planes unless it is absolutely vital for him to intervene. Those who worship the Hunter often dedicate their kills to him. More elaborate worship, both by faeries and men can involve shrines decorated with tokens of dead animals, such as teeth, horns, bones and intestines. It is speculated that the Hunter and the Green Man were once closely related or perhaps even the same person, but this is only a belief, the truth of which is unlikely to be revealed.
The Palace of Märchen[edit | edit source]
The core of the Unseelie Court and the residence of the queen is the Palace of Märchen. Unlike her husband, the Lady spends the majority of her time at her court. On the rare times she is not there, it may be concluded that she is out causing mischief and havoc in the realm of Adylheim. The palace itself is hard to describe, since the structure and appearance of it changes with the whim and mood of its ruler. Sometimes it is a fairy-tale palace, made of white stone with icing sugar turrets, towers and pinnacles. Other times, it can change itself into a spider-infested, crumbling ruin of a castle, or even a sprawling thatched cottage. The interior is just as changeable, and usually matches its outer appearance. Many friends of the queen are seen hanging around at court; the wrath of the Lady is much more widely known and feared than that of her husband, and many seek to wheedle their way into her good graces. The queen of the faeries is never called by her true name, indeed no one actually knows what it is. If she has to be called something, she is simply referred to as the Lady. Unlike her husband, she is whimsical and temperamental, and delights in making trouble for others. Being the ruler of the Unseelie court she is perceived as the leader of the more evil and malevolent beings of the realm, regardless of where their alliance lies. Worship of the Queen is not widely observed. It is said that sacrificing the still-beating heart of captured prey unto her pleases her, an act that seems to reflect on the worship practices of her husband somewhat. Also like the Hunter, the Lady is another of the thirteen Walkers, and her origins are even more shrouded in mystery than those of her king.
Other Phenomena[edit | edit source]
It is said that the king and queen can be summoned in an elaborate ritual to grant wishes for the summoner, but this is naturally very risky and very likely to backfire. The couple do not like being disturbed - particularly the queen. Details of the rituals are scarce, but it is generally considered that one needs to know the true name of the sovereigns in order to summon them. Like their offspring the elves, faeries are vulnerable to iron. However, unlike elves, upon whom it merely breaks their illusions, faeries are physically and mentally harmed by the metal. It can cause burns to the skin and numbs their senses to the point where they can become deaf, dumb and blind. The transportation of iron into Faerie is strictly prohibited and all but impossible. Inhabitants of Adylheim often hang horseshoes over the front door of their houses in order to ward off faeries. However, in times of dire need or distress, peasants will also often place a bowl of milk outside their house, hoping that a faerie will look kindly upon them and help them out in return for the sustenance. Various customs are observed when entering the faerie realm, either accidentally or on purpose. As aforementioned, bringing iron into the realms is forbidden. Food should be refused completely; it is believed that eating the food of faerie grants the denizens power over the eater, who can then be held in faerie against their will. There have also been reports that men spending only one night in faerie have found themselves back in their own village years later, facing the fact that their children are grown and their wife has become old and decrepit. Changelings - faeries and humans switched at birth - are a common legend. It is believed that faeries will sneak into a farmstead at night and switch the human child with a faerie one, though it is generally impossible to see the faerie blood in the switched child. Often people accused of being changelings show fear or discomfort in front of iron, and exhibit strange behavior and habits. The stolen human child however, will often grow up privileged in the court of Faerie, fawned and adored by everyone, whilst the changeling will be feared and hated. It is usually accepted that minions of the Queen are those who perform the switch, since the Hunter takes little interest in happenings outside his own realm.